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Autobytel Acquires Dealix, a Top-Ranked Provider of Auto Sales Leads, for $25 Million

- Autobytel's Full Suite of Award-Winning Car Buying Services Now Available to All Dealix Customers -

- Autobytel Management to Discuss Acquisition on Call Today at 5 p.m. ET -

IRVINE, Calif., May 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL), a leading provider of online automotive services connecting consumers with dealers, has acquired Dealix Corporation and Autotegrity, Inc. (wholly-owned subsidiaries of CDK Global, LLC), for $25 million.

The all-cash transaction, which includes a working capital adjustment, combines two prominent leaders in the automotive industry to help dealers and manufacturers improve their businesses and sell more cars.

Dealix provides new and used car leads to dealerships, dealer groups, and automotive manufacturers, and consistently ranks as a top auto sales lead provider in the industry. The company is also the operator of the highly successful car buying site, UsedCars.com – one of the first used car search engines to connect consumers with a nationwide inventory of quality used cars. This site now joins Autobytel's consumer-facing family of websites, Autobytel.com and the soon to be re-launched Car.com.

This acquisition is expected to provide a variety of significant benefits to the automotive industry, including:

  • A greater commitment to delivering high converting, in-market consumers to industry partners by integrating Autobytel's lead generation and customer acquisition processes across the entire combined network of customers;
  • Enhanced analytics, consumer acquisition strategies, and product development teams;
  • A more robust level of service and support for industry customers through expanded field teams, account management teams, and training groups; and
  • An expanded suite of products for dealers and manufacturers, including mobile, next generation video chat, direct-to-dealer website traffic programs, and expanded used car lead services, among others.

The acquisition adds approximately 600 retail new dealers and 300 retail used dealers to the Autobytel network, for a combined total of approximately 4,954 dealers. These dealer additions do not include the 450 retail new and 170 retail used overlap dealers that were receiving leads from both Dealix and Autobytel. Autobytel management expects the acquisition to be accretive to net income in 2015.

"This acquisition creates an even more dynamic and effective automotive marketing organization," said Jeff Coats, President and CEO of Autobytel. "The addition of Dealix further expands our reach and influence in the automotive industry by increasing our lead generation capabilities and the size of our car dealer network, and also strengthens our relationships with auto manufacturers. Autobytel's existing proprietary lead strategies and customer acquisition programs produce estimated buy rates of at least three times the industry average. As such, by combining these organizations, we expect to significantly improve the quality of leads and related services that members of the Dealix network are accustomed to receiving."

"Developing a greater used car presence has been a key growth initiative for Autobytel," continued Coats, "with the company's commercial acquisition team launching a used car beta test platform earlier this year. Our internally-generated used car business has been ramping steadily as we collect the information that allows us to optimize for quality, volume and margin. However, UsedCars.com makes an immediate contribution to this initiative and will accelerate its development."

In addition to UsedCars.com, Dealix brings to Autobytel a suite of products that help dealers grow their sales, backed by in-depth analytics. With offices in Cambridge and the Silicon Valley area, Dealix leverages its close proximity to both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the vast pool of tech personnel in Silicon Valley to hire some of the brightest minds in the industry to develop products that optimize the car sales process.

This includes proprietary analytics technology and precision targeting tools that allow dealers to launch more effective campaigns based on make and geography. These products will be added to Autobytel's already expanding platform, including TextShield, SaleMove, AutoWeb and GoMoto, which have redefined the way customers interact with dealers.

Transaction Financing

The transaction was financed in part by Union Bank, N.A. through a newly established $15.0 million senior secured term loan and by drawing on the $2.8 million remaining balance of Autobytel's $8.0 million working capital revolver. The remainder was funded by cash on hand. The term loan carries an interest rate of LIBOR plus 3.0% and is amortizable over a period of five years. The revolver carries an interest rate of LIBOR plus 2.5%.

Revised Business Outlook

Autobytel's guidance for fiscal 2015 has been revised upward with revenues now expected to range between $128.0 million and $132.0 million, representing an increase of approximately 20% to 24% from 2014. The company also now expects non-GAAP diluted EPS in fiscal 2015 to range between $1.21 and $1.27, an increase of approximately 46% to 53%.

Conference Call

Autobytel will hold a conference call today at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time to discuss the transaction. The company's president and CEO, Jeff Coats, and CFO, Kim Boren, will host the call, followed by a question and answer period.

Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015
Time: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (2:00 p.m. Pacific time)
Toll-free dial-in number: 877-852-2929
International dial-in number: 404-991-3925
Conference ID: 52982324

The conference call will also be broadcast live at www.autobytel.com (click on "Investor Relations" and then click on "Events & Presentations"). Please visit the website at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the call to register and download any necessary software.

For those who will be joining the call by phone, please call the conference telephone number 5-10 minutes prior to the start time. If you have any difficulty connecting with the conference call, please contact Liolios Group at 1-949-574-3860.

A replay of the conference call will be available after 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on the same day through May 28, 2015. The call will also be archived in the Investor Relations section of Autobytel's website for one year.

Toll-free replay number: 855-859-2056
International replay number: 404-537-3406
Replay ID: 52982324

Note about Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Autobytel has disclosed non-GAAP EPS in this press release, which is a non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G, for fiscal 2015. The company defines non-GAAP EPS as GAAP net income before amortization of acquired intangibles, non-cash stock-based compensation, acquisition costs, severance costs, litigation settlements and income taxes, divided by weighted average diluted shares outstanding. The company's management believes that presenting non-GAAP EPS provides useful information to investors regarding the underlying business trends and performance of the company's ongoing operations and is a better metric for monitoring the company's performance given the company's net operating loss (NOL) tax credits. This non-GAAP financial measure is used in addition to and in conjunction with results presented in accordance with GAAP and should not be relied upon to the exclusion of GAAP financial measures. Management strongly encourages investors to review the company's consolidated financial statements in their entirety and to not rely on any single financial measure.

About Autobytel

Autobytel Inc. provides high quality consumer leads and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States. The company also provides consumers with robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions. The company pioneered the automotive Internet in 1995 with its flagship website www.autobytel.com and has since helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and has helped every major automaker market its brand online.

Investors and other interested parties can receive Autobytel news alerts and special event invitations by accessing the online registration form at investor.autobytel.com/alerts.cfm.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer

The statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements under the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements, including, (i) the company's statement that the acquisition is expected to provide a variety of significant benefits to the automotive industry, including (1) a greater commitment to delivering high converting, in-market consumers to industry partners by integrating Autobytel's lead generation and customer acquisition processes across the entire combined network of customers; (2) enhanced analytics, consumer acquisition strategies, and product development teams; (3) a more robust level of service and support for industry customers through expanded field teams, account management teams, and training groups; and (4) an expanded suite of products for dealers and manufacturers, including mobile, next generation video chat, direct-to-dealer website traffic programs, and expanded used car lead services, among others; (ii) that with the addition of Dealix, the company expects to significantly improve the quality of leads and related services that members of the Dealix network are accustomed to receiving; (iii) management's expectation that the acquisition will be accretive to net income in 2015; (iv) that the company's guidance for fiscal 2015 has been revised upward with revenues to range between $128.0 million and $132.0 million, representing an increase of approximately 20% to 24% from 2014; and (v) that the company also expects non-GAAP diluted EPS in fiscal 2015 to range between $1.21 and $1.27, an increase of approximately 46% to 53%, are not guarantees of future performance and involve assumptions and risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Autobytel undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements are changes in general economic conditions; the financial condition of automobile manufacturers and dealers; disruptions in automobile production; changes in fuel prices; the economic impact of terrorist attacks, political revolutions or military actions; failure of our internet security measures; dealer attrition; pressure on dealer fees; increased or unexpected competition; the failure of new products and services to meet expectations; failure to retain key employees or attract and integrate new employees; actual costs and expenses exceeding charges taken by Autobytel; changes in laws and regulations; costs of legal matters, including, defending lawsuits and undertaking investigations and related matters; and other matters disclosed in Autobytel's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are strongly encouraged to review the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of risks and uncertainties that could affect the business, operating results or financial condition of Autobytel and the market price of the company's stock.

CONTACT: Company Contact: Kim Boren Chief Financial Officer 949-862-1396 kimb@autobytel.com Investor Relations: Liolios Group, Inc. Cody Slach or Sean Mansouri 949-574-3860 ABTL@liolios.com Autobytel Inc. Media Relations Splash Media Jennifer Lange 949-916-4820 jlange@getsplashmedia.com

Source:Autobytel Inc.